The Brooklyn-based Jordan Young Group has an unusual lineup featuring drummer Young, guitarist Yotam Silberstein
, saxophonist Joe Sucato and organist Brian Charette
. Self-described as an organ group, Jimmy Smith
and Jack McDuff
are cited among its influences. Organ has been part of jazz since the Fats Waller
days, but has never had an ongoing prominent role in the genre. In large part, the sustained harmonics of the organ limit its scope in music that is fundamentally rooted in the flexibility to build and break textures with regularity. On its self-titled debut, the group succeeds in bringing the best out of this formation, creating a fresh approach to classics and originals with inventive arrangements.
The set opens with Pat Metheny
's "H and H," and the band immediately displays its ability to swing in the traditional sense. It's evident from the beginning that Sucato and Charette create a synergy between their instruments that is similar to a saxophone and trumpet frontline. They leave room for distinction, and yet there are times when they match tones as if they were playing in the same instrument family. On covers such as "Every Time We Say Goodbye" and "Angola," both players repeatedly demonstrate the flexibility to work together in this fashion, generating results that are greater than the sum of their considerable individual contributions.
All of Silberstein's significant guitar skills are on display throughout the collection. His style is part Wes Montgomery
, and part acoustic Hendrix. The latter is best seen in the four, consecutively numbered interstitial tracks, "PiNGs." These Charette-penned numbers are the free jazz components of Jordon Young Group
, and Silberstein's lightning quick dexterity compliments Charette's improvisation, which ranks up there with Don Pullen
's avant-garde Hammond work. Here, as throughout the collection, Sucato's tenor displays an expertise in timing, technique and sensitivity. His talent is especially evident on Joe Henderson
's "Afro-Centric," where he implements his own touch to enhance a master's work.
Like many of the best drummers, Young himself is as understated as he is talented. He displays both the fine nuance of Paul Motian
and the driving improvisational skills of Han Bennink
. He plays with soul and he plays with force, when and where needed. Though he covers all the bases, it is never with a business-as-usual approach. Regularly present at New York clubs such as Smoke and Smalls, the Jordan Young Group has a unique grasp of styles and a promising future.